Universal, Germany, and ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT: A case study in crisis historiography
Author(s): Wedel, Michael
In the years 1928 to 1932 the so-called coming of the sound film substantially changed the international film industry. As the new normative product, the sound film provoked necessary fundamental changes not only in the production and exhibition sectors – it also had a significant impact on distribution practices. With regard to transnational film distribution, the film industry’s new commodity threatened Hollywood’s hegemony on a world market that was about to diversify into countless distinct language barriers. As soon became clear, the hope (voiced by Louis B. Mayer in 1928) that the sound film would help to re-enforce English as cinema’s ‘universal language’ thanks to the worldwide popularity of Hollywood productions (and thus seamlessly continuing the internationalism of the silent picture) was based on a deceptive assessment of the impeding market situation, its economic determinants, and cultural dynamics. Instead, innovation and instability, creativity and crisis management were to govern the international film business for years to come.
Wedel, Michael: Universal, Germany, and ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT: A case study in crisis historiography. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 1 (2012), Nr. 1, S. 126–147. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5117/NECSUS2012.1.WEDE.
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